MEET OUR JUDGES

Judges

BONGIWE BAKO

Marketing & Business Development Manager, Engen

Bongi is an innovative, transformative and visionary leader with a knack for problem solving. She has 20 years’ experience in sales, marketing and brand communications, 17 of which have been spent at a management level. Her tertiary qualifications include an MMSM from Wits Business School and an MBA from the University of Stellenbosch, as well as SAPIA certificates from Duke Corporate Education and Rhodes Business School. She has been exposed to retail, commercial, and lubricants during her tenure at Engen, and has a keen interest in learning about building high-performance teams and companies that are built to last, especially in current world market conditions. Especially passionate about diversity, inclusion, and innovative project management both locally and globally, Bongi is a firm believer in lifelong learning as a tool to strengthen her expertise and to help keep an open mind.

Judges

ZEESHAAN ABBAS

Project Manager: Business Performance Improvement, Engen

Zeeshaan is passionate about innovation, small-business development and growing sustainable businesses, and provides annual coaching to aspiring entrepreneurs at the USB Entrepreneurial Programme. His career at Engen started in 2009 where he has occupied roles in both human capital and financial services. He is currently a project manager in the Engen retail space. He holds degrees from CPUT, UCT and USB (MBA) majoring in Global Business Strategy, Competitive Intelligence and Building Future Markets (Wharton Business School). During his MBA, he completed leadership development in Bled Slovenia at IEDC business school, using art and music as a means to develop leaders. Zeeshaan is excited to meet 2021’s Pitch and Polish entrants and looks forward to exploring these amazing businesses.

Judges

NKOSINCANE SITHEBE

Treasury Manager, Engen

Nkosincane has held various positions in the finance field within Engen since joining the company in 1993, and currently occupies the position of Treasury Manager. He serves as trustee for the Engen Pension Fund and the Bushbuckridge Integrated Community Centre, and is chairperson of the Engen Medical Benefit Fund Investment Sub-Committee. He is also a director for Enpet Africa Insurance Limited and Enpet Insurance Limited (Isle of Man). Ncane holds a BComm degree from the University of Cape Town.

Judges

GRACE GOVENDER

Head of New Business Development & Sales Support, Nedbank

As the Head of New Business Development and Sales Support at Nedbank, Grace is responsible for the co-creation, coordination and implementation of key strategic initiatives that enable and support both staff and clients to achieve their personal and business goals.

Judges

ALAN SHANNON

Executive, Small Business & Professional Banking (Client Engagement), Nedbank

Alan is educated in business and financial management, as well as general Banking. His most recent educational intervention involved spending a month at Insead Business School in France and Singapore further enhancing his strategy and leadership skills. He has 25 years of experience in the banking industry, mostly at Citibank (where he headed their sales efforts in the mid-sized corporate market) and at Nedbank, were he currently leads the client engagement, sales and channel management efforts on behalf of the bank as they relate to their small business, professional, medical and non-resident banking segments.

Judges

ALLON RAIZ

CEO, Raizcorp

Allon Raiz is regarded both locally and globally as a pioneer and maverick in the business-incubation industry. He is the founder and CEO of Raizcorp which, according to The Economist, is the only genuine incubator in Africa and which currently supports over 500 businesses. His passion for and focus on the development of entrepreneurs attracted the attention of the World Economic Forum (WEF) which, in 2008, recognised Allon as a Young Global Leader. In 2011, he became a member of the WEF’s Global Agenda Council on Fostering Entrepreneurship, making him one of 15 recognised global experts in the field. More recently, he became a member of the WEF’s Global Future Council.

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